Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Dog Days are Early

thirsty Dell
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
It was unbelievably hot today. Not quite yet June and the recorded high was 98.

Yes, Ninety Eight stinkin' degrees.

It was well into the 80s when I was walking the dogs this morning and I felt overdressed in a t-shirt and shorts. The dogs were game for the walk, but halfway through their tongues were lolling. When we got back inside to the sweet, sweet land of central air conditioning John promptly flopped on his side and passed out. Dell, meanwhile, marched to the dog bowl, laid down facing the water dish with his front legs outstretched on either side of the bowl, and proceded to drink every last drop of water.

It's supposed to be another scorcher tomorrow and then the temps drop back to the 80s again. I hope so, because it's way too early to be this hot.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Hey Nineteen!

cutting the cake
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Today you get double post goodness, not only is it Memorial Day, but it is also our nineteenth wedding anniversary.

Nineteen years, four kids, and three houses. We have been very, very busy. And I wouldn't trade away any of it.

Larry stated that he looks forward to at least another 40 happy years together. To that I reply, as I did 19 years ago, I do.

Happy anniversary to my sweetheart. You make everything in my life better.

Stars and Stripes Forever

In honor of Memorial day I present the Skyhawks band's rendition of the Stars and Stripes Forever.

This was part of the spring 2011 concert and was the closing piece. It was a rousing end after a wonderful tribute to all of the branches of the US armed forces. Representatives were found for each branch and had their anthem played as they marched down the aisle.

Sunday, May 29, 2011


Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Strawberry season is starting to wind down. It's been a great year for strawberries in Virginia and I kind of went hog wild this year and bought quarts and quarts of those delicious red berries.

As a result I've made one strawberry shortcake cake, two strawberry rhubarb pies (the breakfast of champions!), and I still have a quart and a half to go. The amazing thing is I still love them.

Friday, May 27, 2011

MCP Project 52: Need for Speed

Need for Speed
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
This week's theme was 'Need of Speed," and it got knocked out Saturday morning. There is nothing like a game of soccer to show a need for speed.

This was Max's last game of the season. He's settled into a fairly good midfielder, in fact all the kids had really come together to be a good little team. They have learned their positions and consistently pass the ball.

And it has paid off.

They have won most of their games, including their last one. I think the most impressive win was the second one of their double header last weekend.
It's been quite a season.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
It's just amazing how filthy Nate can get. He acquired this particular set of dirt "leggings" from playing three lacrosse games last Saturday.

I new he was grubby after spending the day playing in a lacrosse tournament. I just didn't realize how awful it was until he removed his cleats and socks. The stark contrast pf his very pale feet to the decidedly brown legs emphasize exactly how filthy he got.

This is definitely an aspect of living with an athlete I will *not* miss while the kids are on summer vacation.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Artist of the Week: Pink Panther

The artist, or rather artists this week is Jake and his high school band. Last Friday was their spring concert and one of their songs was "Pink Panther." A song, by the way, that is one of my all time favorites.

The concert was very enjoyable and the musicianship was great. I think they did a bang up job, none of the awkward moments that were all too common in middle school. We could tell that the kids had put a tremendous amount of effort and were definitely enjoying the music.
Not bad for a high school band.

Banquet Season

soccer banquet
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Right now it's not only the end of all our sports, but the school year is drawing to a close as well. And this means it's banquet season.

So far we have had two and, of course, they landed on the same day. Larry got to take the older boys to Jake's robotics banquet and I took the twin's to Rebecca's soccer banquet. Both events were fun and a good time was had for all.

Now this was just the tip of the iceberg. By my calculations we have at least three more in the works. Max's soccer team will be next week, Jake will have another with band and then Nate's lacrosse team. Then there is the potential for Jake to have one more if show choir decides to have one and if he wants to attend.


Fortunately each and every one has genuinely nice families involved. The only tricky part part is if the parties are all scheduled at the same time, but I'm not too worried.

Monday, May 23, 2011


This week I'm letting my inner nerd loose. I love this YMCA parody celebrating DNA enzymes. The whole thing is a hoot. I have my friend Paul from way back in my lab tech days to thank. He posted a related video from the same company and from there I found this gem.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Not Enraptured

Oh I'm not talking about the big old bust of a rapture from yesterday. Clearly I wouldn't be among the select few, because I'm Jewish and I thought the whole thing was ridiculous from the get go.

No I'm talking about ticks.

I utterly loathe the little blood sucking monsters. I know they fill an important niche, but I want them gone. I would happily pack their little bags and buy them bus fare if they would leave me and my family alone. It's the time of year I look longingly towards the dogs flea and tick preventive and wish it could be used on humans. DEET works, but the stuff reeks to high heaven and eventually washes off.

Now I have to avoid the woods and do periodic tick checks on the kids and be horribly itchy from the odd one that ends up on me.

Seriously if I was Empress of the world the little buggers would be out of this plane of existance.

Friday, May 20, 2011

MCP Project 52: Spring Fever

Sungold Morning
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
This week's theme is spring fever, which hit here quite a while ago. Now it's more dreading summer and the impending 90 plus temps.

However we have had a bit of a reprieve lately with some gorgeous mild weather amongst the endless rain. Weather I'm very thankful for after our downstairs air conditioning unit went belly up. I've been dreading the moment, which was long over due since the unit turned out to be 24 years old and qualifies it as older than dirt. So with the actual spring weather we have been able to take our time in pricing systems and get the whole shebang replaced before the warm weather hits again next week.

Anyhoodle, for me spring fever hits when it's time for me to set out my teeny tiny deck garden. All I grow are Sungold cherry tomatoes, basil, chives and some sort of slicing tomato. A couple of weeks ago I got my tomato plants and here they are, full of flowers. I can't wait for the deliciousness that will soon follow.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Tower of Mud

tower of mud
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
I spend a fair amount of my time schlepping back and forth various field around the county. It's pretty easy to tune out while tromping down well worn paths. Most of the time I'm juggling a chair, a book, and a camera while avoiding low hanging branches and shoe sucking mud.

That being said I do try to notice what is around me.

And last week I was rewarded when I espied little towers of mud in the half filled drainage ditch. The crayfish (crawdads) have been very busy with all the wet weather we have been having. They have been industriously building their towers along any waterway they can find.

Usually the towers have smooth walls, somewhat like the dribble castles I'll make on the beach. But this one is a bit different, it looks more like little balls of dirt were stacked together to form the tower. It was a rather unique structure. I'm glad I noticed it and that I had my camera with me.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Artist of the Week: Frieze

Max in motion
Originally uploaded by Teck
Max is this week's artist.

Last weekend Max had not one, but two soccer games. One of them was a rescheduling of an earlier game that was cancelled. If I remember correctly the opposing coach wasn't going to have enough players to field a complete team, never mind having no subs. The first game was at 9 am and the second at 11:30am.

Since I was going to be watching a lot of soccer I dragged my camera along. I figured that with 2+ hours of soccer I should be able to get a few decent shots of Max in action.

And so I did.

This one is a bit out of focus (except for his right cleat), but I think that just emphasizes the motion in the shot. Max is on a mission and nothing is going to slow him down. And the best part of the day was that Max's team was able to win both games. Not too shabby considering how closely matched the teams were.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
As for Max's art, there is a tad less motion. In fact, it's a frieze. He has the whole family pictured, including the dogs tucked into the corners (one of the times that it really pays off to have dachshunds).

The building and frieze were outlined lightly in pencil and then drawn over with crayon. The background is a light wash of watercolor. I love the colors he used and the light touch. I think Max did a splendid job on his artwork.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Nate and John Go Skateboarding

Nate has decided to train John to ride a skateboard. So far John has been very game, as long as he gets a few pieces of kibble. Dell was not included in this endeavor because he gets a bit hysterical when kibble is being doled out.

Until today Nate has only been doing John's training sessions inside. He'll gently push the skateboard while John sits on top. A few times Nate has rode along with John, usually seated with a few forays into standing (Nate that is). Today John came out onto the driveway while Nate was goofing off on his skateboard. We decided to see how John would do outside. Music by JewelBeat. Download your free music and free sound effects at www.jewelbeat.com.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Short Film - RAMASAMY

A very silly bit of fluff that made me laugh.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Picasso, Come And Gone

looking out
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Today was the very last day you could see Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, Paris at the only east coast exhibition of its seven city international tour. How a museum in a city the size of Richmond beat those in New York and Boston is a complete mystery to me, I'm just happy that I was able to go.

I have been mulling over a visit not long after the initial announcement. The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is not at all far and it would be silly of me not to at least try to see this rather landmark exhibit. Then a few weeks ago, out of the blue, Jake mentioned to me he would like to see the Picasso exhibit. A week later Rebecca saw a billboard and asked if she could go see Picasso.

beautiful bunny
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Having two children independently request to see the show got me moving. The hard part would be coordinating their schedules. On my own I would in all likelihood go midweek in the morning, but that would not be possible with two school age children in tow. Which left us with the weekends. With only two left I decided that the penultimate weekend would be the better choice.

So we settled on Mother's day, sometime in the afternoon. I was able to buy the tickets in advance, guaranteeing us admission for when we wanted to go. And it was a good thing I had bought the tickets in advance, because the ticket holders line was ridiculously long.

scary rabbit
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Rebecca was a bit bored at first, the works at the beginning of the exhibit had a very muted color palette and were rather drab. About halfway through Rebecca started to perk as the the canvases became more. Jake meanwhile, is very much like me and we both carefully examined each work.

I wish I could share images of the exhibit, but photography was expressly forbidden in the galleries. So instead I have pictures of "Large Leaping Hare" by Barry Flanagan, a sculpture that was a big hit with Jake and Rebecca. You can see them silhouetted in front of the big picture window by the Hare in the top photo. The middle picture shows some of the details in the gilded bronze statue.

As for the last picture...

Rebecca requested that I snap a photo of her being menaced by the huge beast.

Friday, May 13, 2011

MCP Project 52: Window Light

at the door
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
This week's theme was window light and yet again I went to my go to subjects, the dogs.

I feel a bit repetitive using them so often, but they are around me all the time. There is also the added bonus of the dogs being willing to do almost anything and not whining about the whole process. So as a rsult I use them as models for a goodly portion of the MCP Project 52 assignments.

So I'm not really going to the dogs, it just looks that way. And hey, at least I have John and Dell keeping an eye out for me.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Artist of the Week: Cake

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
This week's artist is my little traveling companion Rebecca. Today she got to accompany me to an impromptu trip up to Fredericksburg.

I had a set of ring markers from another club dumped on me waaaay back in October. I had a lot on my plate back then and promptly forgot about them. Low and behold last night the owners of the said markers realized they were missing and put out a call for them. I promptly piped up that I had them and would be happy to met up with whomever and get them out of my garage. This led to some intense emailing back and forth this morning with the end result that today was the best day for all concerned. I decided that Rebecca would accompany me since I had to pick her up from school at roughly the same time I needed to hit the road. I grabbed a bunch of movies and figured between the DVD player and homework she would be entertained. Rebecca loves going places and the promise of dinner out was the icing on the cake.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
And icing is what it's all about this week.

Our elementary school offers after school enrichment a couple of times during the school year. Currently Max is enrolled in Chess and Rebecca is taking cake decorating. The classes met one day a week and last about an hour. The instructor provides the undecorated bake goods, frosting, and various decorating tools. So far Rebecca has decorated a half dozen cupcakes, a chocolate cake and cookies.

The cake, pictured here, was made last week. She decorated the whole thing. First frosting the cake, using a stamp (sort of like a cookie cutter) to mark out the flowers, and creating the flowers. I think she did a lovely job and persuded her to hold off serving it until Mother's Day. Because, really, it's the perfect thing to serve your mom on her special day.

So now we'll have two cake decorators in the house. Maybe someday Rebecca will want to tackle her own birthday.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Homeland Security Redux

Homeland Security
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Just over a year ago I posted how the boys take their self appointed roll as watch dogs very seriously.

This time around I'm showing them at the ready by the front door. I don't think I would have chosen that particular style of front door with the flanking side windows if we had built the house. I'm sure the original design process did not include ease of viewing for dachshunds as a feature. That said, the windows really are at the perfect height for the boys to gaze out and survey their domain.

When ever starlings, squirrels, or other dogs dare set foot on our lawn the boys are at the ready to charge out and defend our home.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Horlogery - The Watchmaker

Just a short little film about a watchmaker.

I love all the intricate and tiny gears that make up a watch and it's fun seeing a little bit of a watch's assembly.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
I hope all the moms out there of all types had a good day.

I got to attend the Picasso exhibit at the Virginia Museum of Fine Art with Jake and Rebecca, stuff myself with take out Chinese food (I'm not a big fan of restaurants on Mother's day, there are inevitably crowded, loud and rushed), and have some chocolate cake beautifully decorated by Rebecca.

Oh, and lots and lots of hugs from Nate and Max.

Overall it was a lovely day.

Friday, May 06, 2011

MCP Project 52: First Thing in the Morning

Dell and Nate
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
This week's theme was "First Thing in the Morning." Not a bad theme to work with. In fact I ended up with a couple of possibilities.

I considered using the clematis picture from yesterday, I love the little drops of dew on the outstretched petals. However it is somewhat a generic shot. Very pretty, but not a whole lot of meaning.

Instead I submitted this picture of Dell and Nate.

Every morning my children stretch out on the couches, huddled under blankets. Without fail Dell greets them first thing after being fed and let out. He rears up and places his paws on the edge of the couch and frantically kisses what portion of my children's faces and hands he can reach. We've all learned that no matter how sleepy you are it is always a good idea to have your hand out to fend off Dell's rather enthusiastic greeting first thing in the morning.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Morning Blooms

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
I'm slowly getting the hang of my new camera.

Some things I like more, others less than my previous camera.

The macro feature is greatly improved. With the previous camera I would often have to keep re-shooting a picture until I would finally get the right spot in focus. My current camera is far more cooperative.

The clematis picture is pretty much straight out of the camera, all I did was crop it down a bit. he focus was perfect, you can clearly see the little drops of dew that dot the surface and the background is nicely blurred.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
As for the peony, it truly is straight out of the camera.

The bloom is still mostly furled, but in a day or so it will open up and delight me with all it's chaotic glory. I just love the messy look of a fully opened peony and I love the color of this one in particular. Our peonies are amongst the very few plants we have put in. The deer aren't terribly interested in the peonies since I started planting them years and years ago and for that I'm very grateful.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Artist of the Week: Shoebox Guitar

Fishing on the Shenandoah
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
This week's artist is Nate.

I took this picture of him while we were on vacation at Shenandoah River State Park. The fishing conditions were terrible with the river running very high and fast. You can see a little bit of the whirlpools and eddies that dotted the surface of a very angry looking Shenandoah river, but Jake and Nate had fun learning the basics of how to cast and reel a fishing rod.

Each morning they would be eager to go out with Larry. At first they would bring home badly tangled lines that I would patiently tease apart and reel back up. But as they got the hang of things the tangles and snarls diminished. Which was a good thing, because I was getting tired straightening out fishing line.

As for Nate's artist endeavor this week, it too involves fishing line.

He was partnered up in class and assigned to make a musical instrument that can play eight notes from materials at hand. Nate and J. settled on making a one string shoebox guitar. The end result was pretty good, below is a video of Nate playing their creation.

I don't know what the teacher thought of it, but I'm impressed. Nate was even able to roughly tune it. Hopefully we will find out soon what his grade is.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011


Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Rebecca has certainly evolved as a soccer player.

When we first signed her up it was almost comical. She loathed practice and would only cooperate after I threatened to deny her post game snacks if she did nothing during practice. During the games she would be a bit more animated, particularly if her ball was used as the game ball, because by gum nobody else was allowed to touch her ball. Then there was the time she had a snit and stood there, arms folded and ignoring the ball, even when it was at her feet.

After that somewhat disastrous season we had her sit out the next. There was no point wasting her time and the team's time if she wasn't going to try. However she still had to schlep to all her siblings practices and by the end she warmed up to the idea of trying again. At least then she wouls have something to do.

Now she has become a fairly intense and competitive player. Like her brothers, she is not afraid of the bigger kids. When she gets knocked down she pops right back up. Oh and she has a wicked tackle and is not afraid to use it. This intensity is evident in the above photo. She is very intently watching the ball and moving up the field alongside, ready to pounce if it comes her way.

Rebecca has come a very long way from her first foray into soccer.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Lil Buck and Yo-Yo Ma

A fascinating collaboration between Yo-Yo Ma and Lil Buck.

I've know about and have appreciated Yo-Yo Ma for years. He plays beautifully and seems to completely immerse himself in his music and yet still maintains a wonderful sense of humor.

Lil Buck was a complete unknown.

From what I gather here (scroll down), Charles "Lil Buck" Riley is a classically trained dancer from the New Ballet Ensemble and School in Memphis, TN and he is currently know for his Memphis jookin' (a sort of street dance form that originated in Memphis).

Ah! Now I understand how he can move in that strange mix of classic and modern dance.

Anyhoo, it was a wonderful collaboration and well worth wattching.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Dewdrops on Flowers

dewdrop chives
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
My chives have up and bloomed on me. I think this is the most and earliest they have bloomed in the 8+ years I have grown them.

They have been happily growing in the same pot and keep coming back year after year. All I ever do is water them and periodically cut them back when I need chives for a recipe. They have become my favorite plant. I don't what I'll do if they give up the ghost.

Oh and on an unrelated note- I took this picture with my new camera and I'm pretty darn pleased with the results.